Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Not Everyone Wants More Responsibility

As a manager, one of your most important obligations is to make your staff feel truly valued and letting them know that your company, department and you would be worse off without them. In many cases, you recognize the successes of your top performers by giving them more responsibility. However, you must consider that not everyone may want more responsibility.

The Peter Principal
The Peter Principle is named after Laurence J. Peter who co-authored the humorous book, "The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong." One of the theories discussed in the book is that management stops promoting employees once they can no longer perform effectively. In some cases, employees have determined their own level of where they perform effectively. Hence, they are hesitant to accept more responsibilities or a promotion when they have reached that point.

They are Happy With Their Current Responsibilities
Hopefully, your staff are good at what they do. In some cases, they are very happy doing the job they have already attained. When that happens, they simply may not want new responsibilities or a different job within the organization.

It will Cost Other Opportunities
Some staff will consider the added responsibility a "dead end", that it will hurt their professional reputation, or that it will cost them other career opportunities. Most people want their next position to allow them to grow their skills and experiences, and to be applicable to their career path. They may turn down responsibilities that contradict their professional vision.

They Recall Their Work History
Some staff have previously been rewarded with new responsibilities. They recalled what their initial and long term performance was when they received it and felt they did not adjust well. They experienced difficulties with the added work, new client interactions, new time demands, etc. Some people do not want new additional responsibilities because they expect it will cause them to become overloaded or unproductive again.

No Offer of a Salary Increase
Some people hesitate to accept new responsibilities when the amount of new work and time demands are not accompanied by added salary. It's not to say that all added responsibilities deserve added salary. You need to reflect on this perception when giving more responsibility.

What are You to Do?
  1. Be sure to give your good performers praise.
  2. Offer new responsibilities to staff. But, do not force it upon them. Let them know why you are making the offer, and discuss how the new responsibilities will benefit their career path in addition to your organization. If they express concerns, assure them that you will be supportive during their transition. In the end, let them make the final decision.
  3. Compensate fairly. If the new responsibilities are worth more to the organization, then it may be justified to align that employee's compensation with the new work opportunity.
  4. Consider that if you team is consistently working at their most productive capacity, it may be time to add staff to your team. You may need to document the team's productivity vs. the work demands in order to make the case to your management.

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David Schuchman